Nige­ria has lost $400bn to for­eign havens, says Malami

The Punch - - NEWS - Ade Ade­s­o­moju, Abuja

NIGE­RIA has lost over $400bn to off­shore havens, the At­tor­ney-gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said on Mon­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by his Spe­cial As­sis­tant on Me­dia and Public Re­la­tions, Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami said the money lost to il­licit fi­nan­cial flows was “stolen and ex­pa­tri­ated by cor­rupt lead­ers and their for­eign ac­com­plices in­clud­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies.”

The state­ment added that Malami led the Nige­rian del­e­ga­tion to the eighth ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence of States Par­ties to the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion Against Cor­rup­tion in the United Arab Emi­rates tak­ing place from De­cem­ber 16 to 20.

“The quan­tum of th­ese il­licit flows which are ma­jorly pro­ceeds of crime un­der­mines lo­cal cur­ren­cies, con­sti­tutes a threat to the econ­omy, and en­hances the risk of huge amounts of money flow­ing into chan­nels such as or­gan­ised crimes and ter­ror­ism,” Malami said.

He noted that “bad eggs among public of­fi­cials have been com­pro­mised by multi­na­tional com­pa­nies and our re­sources looted and di­verted through in­flated con­tracts.”

He re­gret­ted that “pro­ceeds of cor­rup­tion and il­licit fi­nan­cial flows con­sti­tute a huge chunk of re­sources needed for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment but are reg­u­larly di­verted from vic­tim states.”

Malami said the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment had taken dras­tic mea­sures to ad­dress the prob­lem in order to en­sure that Nige­rian fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and banks are not used as con­duits for th­ese il­licit trans­ac­tions.

He added, “To dis­suade the per­pe­tra­tors of this anom­aly in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions who act as en­ablers, State par­ties should en­sure that il­licit fi­nan­cial flows, when tracked, do not re­main in the cus­tody of en­abling fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, but should be trans­ferred into es­crow ac­count, prefer­ably in de­vel­op­ment banks pend­ing re­turn to coun­tries of ori­gin.”

Malami noted that with the re­turn of demo­cratic gov­er­nance in 1999, the coun­try had recorded sig­nif­i­cant progress in the fight against cor­rup­tion.

“We have en­acted le­gal frame­works and es­tab­lished sev­eral ded­i­cated in­sti­tu­tions fo­cused on pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ting di­verse man­i­fes­ta­tions of cor­rup­tion.”

Malami added that that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was ac­tively im­ple­ment­ing the Jus­tice Sec­tor Re­form Strat­egy cov­er­ing is­sues such as In­ter­na­tional Cooperatio­n Mech­a­nisms, Mu­tual Le­gal As­sis­tance and re­form of the Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Sys­tem.

RIVERS State Gov­er­nor, Nye­som Wike, said on Mon­day he had not promised any eth­nic group the po­si­tion of the gov­er­nor.

Wike made the dec­la­ra­tion when the Ogoni in­di­genes vis­ited him at the Gov­ern­ment House in Port Har­court.

He said, “Let no­body say that I have met with Ogoni Eth­nic Na­tion­al­ity and I promised them gov­er­nor. I didn’t prom­ise be­cause I can­not give.

“It is only God that will give the po­si­tion of gov­er­nor. With proper ar­range­ment, things can be done. Don’t say I made a prom­ise; don’t rely on any­one, just work hard. As Nye­som Wike, I can only sup­port but can­not make any­one gov­er­nor.

“Take me as an ex­am­ple. Some­one sat here and said over his dead body would I be gov­er­nor. Am I not gov­er­nor today? I am head­ing to­wards eight years.

“No­body should threaten you that you can­not be gov­er­nor. Don’t al­low any­one to take the

glory of God.”

The gov­er­nor fur­ther claimed Se­na­tor Mag­nus Abe would have be­come the gov­er­nor of the state if he had lis­tened to his ad­vice and left the then gov­ern­ment of Ro­timi Amaechi.

He ad­vised Ogoni peo­ple with the in­ten­tion to run for gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in the state to be fully pre­pared to strug­gle for the po­si­tion, adding that no ad­min­is­tra­tion in the state had given the Ogoni peo­ple the num­ber of ap­point­ments his ad­min­is­tra­tion gave them.

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